Quality Schools frequently asked questions

The Australian Government is delivering new school funding and reform arrangements. To explain the reforms, some frequently asked questions are available below.

A series of  fact sheets that explain the schools reform package in more detail are also available.

There is also a glossary for key terms used on this website.  

How are the changes to the Australian Education Act 2013 impacting on how schools are funded?

From 1 January 2018 amendments to the Australian Education Act 2013 (the Act) took effect. Schools are transitioning to 80 per cent of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) for non-government schools and 20 per cent for government schools by 2029.

The amendments will provide an additional $36.7 billion in recurrent funding for schools over 2018 to 2029, on top of the 2016–17 Budget settings.

The Government is also providing additional financial support to help non-government schools that may find it difficult to adjust to funding changes.

Under the new arrangements, state and territory governments are also required to deliver their share of total public funding. State and territory governments can decide to fund above their minimum contribution requirements and continue to have the discretion to allocate state funding to schools according to their own funding distribution models.

Further information about state funding requirements is available at: How are schools funded in Australia?

What's the aim of these changes? How do they benefit students?

From 2018, the Australian Government is providing school funding that is based on the need of students and schools, so that funding goes to where it is needed the most.

The Government has announced its intention that by 2029, all schools will attract consistent shares of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) from the Commonwealth.

When will the Quality Schools funding arrangements take effect?

The funding arrangements commenced on 1 January 2018 and schools have started moving to consistent shares of the SRS.

Based on 2017 funding allocations, schools and systems that attracted less than the consistent Commonwealth shares of the SRS will move to them by 2023.

Schools and systems that attracted more than the consistent Commonwealth shares of the SRS will transition over a slightly longer and more manageable period, reaching their SRS share by 2029.

What does this mean for my school?

The majority of schools and systems will see increases in their Commonwealth funding. On average, per student funding from the Government will grow by 4.0 per cent each year between 2018 and 2029.

Is the Quality Schools package really delivering 'record funding'?

The Government will deliver a record $307.7 billion in total school recurrent funding from 2018 to 2029. Recurrent funding for schools will grow from a record $17.5 billion in 2017 to $31.4 billion in 2029.

This funding will grow faster than broader economic growth, with total Commonwealth recurrent funding growing by 79.3 per cent from 2017 to 2029 and funding per student growing at an average of 4.0 per cent each year.

At the national level, funding per student for Government, Independent and Catholic schools will continue to increase in real terms, exceeding projected growth in enrolments and inflation.

Read more about school funding on the 'How are schools funded in Australia? ' factsheet.

Will any schools lose funding?

A small number of non-government schools are expected to have recurrent funding reduced as they transition to consistent Commonwealth shares of the Schooling Resource Standard. This is because these non-government schools have historically received more funding than similar schools with students with similar levels of need.

The funding reduction will occur in a manageable way, with most affected schools set to have only a small reduction in Commonwealth funding.

To provide schools with funding certainty and to support a smooth transition, the Government is providing a number of financial support measures designed to assist non-government schools to adjust to new funding levels. Further information is available at: how and when will schools move to new funding arrangements?

What is the National School Resourcing Board?

The Government established the independent National School Resourcing Board (the Board) to undertake reviews of different parts of the funding model under the Australian Education Act 2013 (the Act).

These reviews will help ensure public confidence in the funding model and ensure states, territories and other approved authorities comply with their obligations under the Act. 

Over time, the reviews undertaken by the Board will help show how school funding is improving educational outcomes, as well as making sure funding is used in line with the Act.

The Board members are:  

  • Mr Michael Chaney AO (Chair)
  • Emeritus Professor Denise Bradley AC (Deputy Chair)
  • Associate Professor Natalie Brown
  • Professor Greg Craven AO
  • Mr Bill Daniels AM
  • Professor Stephen Lamb
  • Professor Ken Smith
  • Dr Alison Taylor

The Board's first priority was to review the funding arrangements for determining the capacity of non-government school communities to contribute to the operational costs of their school.

On 29 June 2018, the Board submitted to the Government its first report on its review of the socio-economic status (SES) score.

On 20 September 2018, the Australian Government announced its response to the Board's Review of the socio-economic status (SES) score methodology.

The next reviews expected to be undertaken by the Board will focus on the loading which delivers additional funding for students with disability, and the needs based funding arrangements of approved system authorities.

What are the arrangements for implementing the Government's response to the National School Resourcing Board's review of capacity to contribute arrangements?

The Government has introduced a package of interim support measures providing $170.8 million in additional funding for 2019 for non-government schools. The interim support builds on similar temporary provisions in 2018.

From 2020, new arrangements will use a direct income measure to determine the capacity of a school community to contribute to their school. The direct income measure will be based on the median income of parents or guardians as determined through linkage of personal income data and residential address data collections.

The new arrangements will be phased in over three years from 2020. Approved authorities for schools will be able to choose whether to commence in 2020, 2021 or 2022, depending on their circumstances. The staggered start gives schools the flexibility to move to the new direct income measure once they are confident in the quality of their school's data.

How is funding for students with disability being improved?

From 2018, the Commonwealth's student with disability loading will be based on the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD).

The NCCD captures all students with disability receiving adjustments to support their access and participation in learning.

From 2018, Commonwealth funding for students with disability is provided via a loading at different rates based on a student's required level of adjustment (supplementary, substantial or extensive). This will enable funding to be better targeted to student need as identified through the NCCD.

To ensure this data is of the highest possible quality, the Government is providing an additional $20 million over four years (2017-18 to 2020-21) to strengthen and quality assure the NCCD across all sectors. Further information is available at: what is the Government doing to support students with disability?  

How will the Government's plan improve student achievement?

Mr David Gonski chaired the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools (the Review). The final report was delivered to Government on 28 March 2018. The Review's recommendations and findings have informed the National Schools Reform Agreement between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments. By signing up to the Agreement, governments commit to a sustained reform effort that will drive improved student outcomes and excellence in our classrooms.

What is the National School Reform Agreement?

The National School Reform Agreement is a joint agreement between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments aimed at providing the best opportunities for students and support for teachers.

The Agreement builds on existing national and local initiatives in each state and territory and ensures that funding is invested in programs that will have the biggest impact on student outcomes.

The Agreement will operate from 2019 to 2023.

What are the reforms in the National School Reform Agreement?

The eight national reforms are based on evidence of what works, in areas where national collaboration will have the greatest impact on driving improved student outcomes. The reforms are focused on supporting students, student learning and achievement, supporting teaching, school leadership and school improvement, and enhancing the national evidence base.

What is required of states and territories under the National School Reform Agreement? 

Under the Quality Schools arrangements, state and territory governments are also required to deliver their share of total public funding. State and territory governments can decide to fund above their minimum contribution requirements and continue to have the discretion to allocate state funding to schools according to their own funding distribution models.

Further information about state funding requirements is available at: How are schools funded in Australia?

Previous arrangements

What was the 2011 Gonski review and what did it recommend?

The 2011 Review of Funding for Schooling was commissioned by the former Government and led by Mr David Gonski AC.

The report made many recommendations, but central to the review was the concept of a needs based approach to funding that provided a 'schooling resource standard' with a base amount per student and loadings for disadvantage.

How was the 2011 Gonski Review implemented?

While the Schooling Resource Standard was included in the previous version of the Australian Education Act 2013, Commonwealth recurrent funding varied considerably depending on negotiated arrangements with state and territory governments.

This means students with the same need in the same sector were potentially treated differently because of the state in which they lived.

If the previous arrangements had continued, the transition to more consistent needs-based funding would not occur within decades, or even within 150 years in some instances.